An abortion pill lawsuit in Texas may further restrict access to this treatment

Anna Lawrence, Staff Writer

Recently, the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine filed a lawsuit against the FDA in Amarillo, Texas in hopes of restricting access to mifepristone, a government-approved abortion pill. Mifepristone, used by millions of Americans, is a common method of abortion when paired with misoprostol, and has been proven safe and effective for over two decades. However, this lawsuit may further restrict the ability of some women to use these drugs. 

Because people prefer drug-induced abortions, to surgical ones, the use of mifepristone and misoprostol are common methods for this procedure and make up over half of all abortions in the United States. The FDA approved mifepristone in 2000 and the drug has since undergone hundreds of studies, proving its safety and effectiveness. The lawsuit, filed by Christian group Alliance Defending Freedom, and representing the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, claims that mifepristone is unsafe and that the FDA did not sufficiently study the drug before approval. The plaintiff seeks to remove the drug from the American market and limit its accessibility, which would significantly impact abortion providers and patients.

Twelve leading medical organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, say the medications are effective and safe (Kaiser Health News). However, Denise Harle, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, said that no amount of scientific data would convince her that mifepristone should be on the market. 

Mifepristone can still be ordered online with a prescription, even in states where surgical abortions are restricted. According to CBS News, the drug is also used to treat miscarriages. If the case is won by the plaintiff, mifepristone would no longer be shipped to the United States, even to states where abortion is legal. This decision could impact 40 million women nationwide, making it the most consequential legal ruling since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade (CBS News).

The case will be decided by Federal Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee. Kacsmaryk worked as deputy general counsel at First Liberty Institute, a conservative nonprofit advocating for religious liberty, before being confirmed to the federal judiciary in 2019 (Kaiser Health News). When the Alliance Defending Freedom filed this lawsuit in Amarillo, Texas, they were almost guaranteed to have Judge Kacsmaryk oversee the case. 

Kacsmaryk has reportedly shown an “alarming bias towards LGBTQ+ Americans and a disregard for Supreme Court precedents” according to U.S. senator Susan Collins (R-ME). He also has made several remarks opposing reproductive rights, like abortion, as well as anti-feminist statements, according to University of Texas-Austin law professor Elizabeth Sepper. Kacsmaryk’s decision is still pending.